Cather Hall to re-open to meet campus housing demand

In response to high demand for campus housing, UNL will re-open Cather Hall this fall.

The university had taken Cather offline in May in anticipation of the opening of the new 513-bed University Suites residence hall at 18th and R streets. However, based on the number of contracts received so far this summer, housing officials turned to the 50-year-old residence hall to handle the demand.

Housing contracts will continue to be accepted through August, making an exact number of students living on campus difficult to precisely calculate at this point — but officials presently have a clear enough picture to know they will need more space in the fall, said Sue Gildersleeve, UNL's director of housing.

In previous years when housing requests have exceeded capacity, students were assigned temporary quarters in converted lounges in traditional residence halls. This year, the high number of students seeking on-campus housing makes that option impractical, Gildersleeve said.

"It is great that we have the luxury of using Cather, which can be brought back into service and made available for our students," she said. "We'll be able to provide accommodations for the students that they can use all year, instead of asking them to move at some point during the school year.

"One of the benefits of living on campus is the opportunity to form community and roommate bonds. We've found that students in temporary housing are usually reluctant to move out of the community later in the year when a permanent space becomes available."

Gildersleeve said the move allows UNL to be able to continue using the lounges for their intended purposes — as study, meeting and socializing spaces.

Room assignments for students who signed contracts after April 1 are being sent this week, and some of those students will be assigned to Cather. Gildersleeve said she expects to have about half of the 13-floor residence hall open again when fall classes begin Aug. 26.

— Steve Smith, University Communications